I am Ben Finn co-author of Kill Them Dead. This is my website. And today I want to be upfront on why kindle publishing for the larger part will not make you rich…and can suck piles as well.
I want to warn you first.
This article – and I added these sentences after draft one – is a bit of a personal musing with hopefully some helpful insight.
So why do I believe Kindle Self-Publishing sucks?
Overall, it is a pretty negative title for all the wide-eyed, hopeful writers out there.
I get it.
We all want to be at the top of the sales mountain. We have all been handed the Kool-Aid, ready to take that sip to stardom.
Living the Writers Dream.
The eternal optimists will read into the statement a combination of things, like:
“He did not cut it as an author so now he is sour as shit about it…”
“His books suck.”
“The article title is just click-bait…it will show the opposite.
Valid points. If theologians could read into the Bible more than 25 000 different denominations, then I am sure you can read into the statement whatever you want.
And no, I am not comparing my little blog post with the Bible. Dammit we are living in such a sensitive world where we need to explain every little statement…or do we…or is this just mindless word stuffing giving more substance for Google to rank?
Let us back track to the topic. Still with me? Good.
Truth be told, I would ask the same questions if I read this post.
If you suffer from ADD or your toilet sitting is over and you need to get back to some real work or entertainment, here is the short answers.
- I did manage to create an Erotic Author brand, with one book becoming a best seller and to date making me very good sales – can I retire my day job from it…well nope, and it is really not the type of writing I want to do. In short, we sold out – chasing the money. More on that later.
- Whether Kill Them Dead suck…why don’t you be the judge? The first installment is still perm free and you can download it here…I know shameless self-promotion but give it a shot.
- Yes, there might be a bit of the old click bait in the title – read on to see if that is true.
If you have read this far, it means you are interested to hear from an old, washed-out author wannabe.
That said, I am also not that old.
Turning 43 this May in the year of the lockdown.
Just putting it out there.
Time to create the context for this post.
Seven years ago, when Marc and I wrote and published Kill them Dead we were very optimistic. Kindle Publishing was in its golden era. I can still remember the day. We hit submit on 1 March 2013 – it was a Friday. The next morning, I was out fishing with another friend when I got the text message from Marc.
“Spot the sale”
Our total sales stood at 2.
The first sale was us. But now we had one legit sale. An unknown person took a chance on us. Somewhere in the world.
I have never used drugs before. But apparently you will never get the same high as the first time. In fact, the first time for everything is always better, more memorable.
The same apply with that first sale. Yes, it was at 99c and we would only earn 35c royalty. That was not the point. The point was someone bought our book.
If you have not yet published your first book, this should be the one reason to do so.
The rush of that first sale.
Back to topic…
Kindle publishing still sucks, and I am still not rich.
Seven years ago, I thought I will be.
We played “Spot the sale” over the next few weeks. It was solid. Nothing earth shattering. We drip released the rest of our books – made mistakes, but that is a topic for another article.
So, at this point, this is the big reveal.
We fell into the rabid hole that is Kindle Publishing. Our modest success opened the massive opportunity that is self-publishing.
We fell for the gold. The power of the ring took control, and we started chasing the money.
We rationalized it by saying that if we can solidify publishing in one area it will give us the money, time and freedom to pursue our real story ambitions.
And the end result was, we never complete the massive world that should have been Kill Them Dead.
No, we started chasing other genres – remember the erotic brand earlier.
Did we succeed in making money?
So, what is the problem?
The problem is we never got to write the rest of our story. We started focusing on things that was secondary.
It is not a question of whether you can make money form self-publishing. Or whether you can make money publishing on Kindle.
Granted it is far more competitive today than 7 years ago.
The question is the options. Can you stay true to your writing dream? Can you slog away in hope that someday you might make a living from your writing?
There are great writers out there that do make a living publishing their stuff on kindle. I have no idea if they stayed true to their work or not. There are many awful writers that sold millions of books through luck and perhaps gaming the system.
And that can crush dreams. Kindle publishing sucks because it is a mixture of true free market forces at play.
Money. Power. Luck. Gaming the System. True quality.
There might be more, but a mixture of these might get you onto the top of the proverbial mountain.
But for the most of us, we stand at base camp, dreaming. So near to reach, yet the storms to the summit might be too much to handle.
For everyone that “makes it” there are thousands that do not.
It is not unique to writing and publishing.
If you read this musing a few months or years from now, realize the context. I am writing this during lockdown. In a time of reflection. As Marc always tells me hindsight is twenty-twenty. There are a million things we could have and should have done differently.
And with that in mind, together with the current reflection, I want to first warn that Kindle Self-Publishing is a hard business. There are so many – and I will call them on the name they deserve – sharks out there that want to sell you some secret system to propel you forward.
Truth is nothing that they are selling is not freely available. And some of the things they are selling is just lies.
Kindle self-publishing is not going to make you rich. At least not immediately.
However, it gives you the best platform to start a writing journey. One that you will have to be thick skinned.
And that is why it sucks, because like everything else it must be a journey.
I am seven years into that journey and is still in a day job. Perhaps that will be it for me. Perhaps not. But in this reflection, I realized that there are many more stories in me.
That I need to re-look my game plan.
Learn from the past.
And adjust my writers dream.
I know this is a musing. If your have read until this point, I thank you.